The Beo String Quartet’s Ghosts Revisited LP Captivates

By Deuce

There’s a little bit of everything on the Beo String Quartet’s Ghosts Revisited LP. From live drums to live vocals, violins, and an upright bass, the foursome manage to cover a lot of ground (a significant amount of which is un-trodden) over 11 tracks.

Four of those numbers are simply entitled “Ghost 1”, “Ghost 2”, “Ghost 3” and “Ghost 4”. However, they unveil the quintessential prowess of the group. Much like the “Prologue” that beings this LP, these works are largely bereft of anything other than the four string players harmonizing with one another.

Oftentimes, these and other numbers begin slowly, with protracted notes. However, the quartet is unpredictable if nothing else, and displays a propensity for swiftly shifting timbre, tone, speed, and the pitch at which they play, making for an engaging listening experience.

“Prologue”, for example, begins with a solemnity befitting a classical music string arrangement that curves and curls in the air as the players intertwine with each other. However, by the end of the tune they’re playing frantically, with unwieldy high-pitched notes that get cut off by the thumping of a kick—a dramatic ending to a deftly delivered piece.

Other songs are much more accessible to contemporary listeners. Someone mans the vocals on several of these cuts, and the quartet is joined by a sundry of instruments including live drums, electric guitars, and even electric bass. These numbers are predominantly upbeat, effervescent, and present plenty of opportunities for string playing that bears no resemblance to classical music whatsoever.

“Dreaming” extends this motif to the very foyer of rock and roll, complete with the vocalist yelling, the drums flaring, and the string work doubling and tripling overtime to not just keep up, but perhaps set the bar.

“Walking” is a bit cryptic in its ambitions. This time the drums take on an off-kilter pattern that’s almost difficult to discern. However, the lead vocalist has a sumptuous melody during the verses and there’s a smooth bass line to hold things together.

Some of the most thrilling moments on the LP arrive when the players combine their might and speed to takeover parts of the tune with the ferocity of an electric guitar solo. The fact that this energy is created acoustically and without amplification deepens the overall sincerity of the songs…and the album as a whole.      

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